Rowan residents sprinkled among massive crowd at D.C. women’s march
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — Traveling by bus or any means necessary, local residents on Saturday joined hundreds of thousands of people in Washington, D.C. for one of many women’s marches across the nation.
Crowds gathered in cities across the United States, in large part, to protest the presidency of Donald Trump, whose inauguration was just 24 hours earlier. There were marches as close as Greensboro and Charlotte, but many locals traveled to the nation’s capital, where crowds were reportedly so large that the event was more a rally than a march.
“Walking anywhere was just about impossible,” said Cassandra Keller, a local resident who took a bus from Greensboro to Washington, D.C. “When we moved, we had to move sideways. There wasn’t any strolling down the street except there and back (to the bus).”
Keller traveled to the nation’s capital with Cassandra Smith, a Spencer resident. Keller said she traveled to participate the march to raise awareness about important issues.
“There’s not a whole lot that I can do as a single person to combat racism and the lack of humanism and compassion in our elected officials, and this is something that I could do,” Keller said.
Smith expressed similar sentiments, saying she wanted to show support for human rights, including women’s issues.
“I came because of the things that have come out in the news about how Trump has treated and talked about women, the things he says to and about them,” she said. “The incidents in his past all have led me to believe that he does not respect women.”
As Smith and Keller were walking back to their bus, Salisbury residents Sam and Alicia Post were taking a break in a coffee shop after a day of walking and standing with few, if any, breaks. The husband-and-wife pair took a bus with their daughters from Durham to Washington, D.C. After arriving on Saturday morning, the Post family walked three miles to get to the U.S. Capitol, Sam said.
“It was just a stream of people walking, mostly women,” Sam said. “Everybody has signs. Everybody is very empowered. There’s lots of unity and lots of camaraderie.”
Besides marching, he said the vent included speakers and musical performers. Alicia said she hadn’t ever seen that many people in one place in her entire life. She said it’s important that elected leaders, specifically Republicans, are aware of opposition to their policies.
“We want to make sure there’s no mistake about where we stand as far as issues for women and for social justice and that whole bag of issues,” she said.
There was significant doubt among Rowan County residents at the march about whether the concerns expressed by marchers will register with Trump. Keller said Trump would feel as if he’d accomplished something by having so many people protest. Kannapolis resident Veleria Levy, the N.C. Democratic Party’s second vice chair, made a prediction that essentially came true just a couple hours later.
“I think he’s too much of a male chauvinist to even care,” Levy said. “I think he will tweet tonight that he had more people at his inauguration than at the women’s march, and I think that’s horrible and it shows what type of tiny mind he has.”
After various news outlets noted that crowds at the women’s march were larger than at Trump’s inauguration, the White House held a press conference to say Trump’s inauguration included “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.” That statement is not true.
Levy said Trump should realize that he’s president of “all the people” and not “all the people that elected him.”
Levy said she hopes the marches across America on Saturday result in more local organization and participation in the political process. Voters should attend district-, county- and precinct-level political meetings.
“We need to be ready to run someone to take back our legislature in North Carolina,” she said. “We need to be prepared to do this and we have the excitement. So, it can’t stop. We’ve got something like 1,460 days until four years is up.”
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.
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